A used SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket brought 10 new communications satellites from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base into orbit today (March 30), marking an anniversary for reusable rockets.
The Falcon 9 rocket, which flew for the first time in October 2017, launched the fifth set of Iridium Next satellites for Iridium Communications at 10:13 am EDT (1413 GMT) – exactly one year after the first SpaceX launch and launch Landing the Falcon 9 rocket. Since then, SpaceX has landed the first stage of its two-stage Falcon 9 rockets and used them later.
In fact, the Booster, which today launched the Iridium 5 mission, also launched 1
If that sounds like many introductions to Iridium, you're not wrong. Iridium has tapped SpaceX to launch 75 Iridium Next satellites to build their communication constellation in orbit. To this end, Iridium has purchased eight launches of Falcon 9 for a total of $ 536 million
Moving away from typical SpaceX launches, the company has the live video feed from the second stage of Falcon 9 in 9 minutes in the flight cut. 19659002] "Due to some limitations imposed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric, NOAA for short, SpaceX will intentionally stop live video transmission from the second phase just before engine stop," Hammerseely said. "We're working with NOAA to address these limitations and hopefully deliver live orbit views in the future."
Hammersley did not elaborate what these NOAA limitations might be. Space.com has contacted SpaceX and NOAA for clarification.
The 10 Iridium Next satellites were to be deployed approximately 42 minutes after orbit, bringing the constellation of Iridium to 50 satellites. SpaceX launched the first 10 Iridium Next satellites in January 2017, with three more to follow in June, October and December of the same year. The entire constellation of Iridium Next satellites (which includes 66 operational satellites and 9 in-orbit replacement parts) should be in orbit by mid-2018 if SpaceX maintains the current takeoff speed.
The SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, has regularly launched and landed Falcon 9 missiles as part of the company's reusable rocket program to reduce the cost of space flights. SpaceX, however, did not try to land the Iridium 5 booster on its offshore drone ship. Read the instructions. The booster should instead fly over the open ocean in the Pacific Ocean and then spray it down.
Hammersley said SpaceX has sent out its salvage boat Mr. Steven, which is equipped with a giant net held by it's huge steel arms to try to catch one half of the Falcon 9's payload fairing, the protective nose cone that covers satellite payloads during startup. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk called the boat a "Catcher's Mittt" in boat shape.
SpaceX's first attempt to catch a Falcon 9 disguise narrowly missed earlier this year. The company hopes to recover payload fairings, each costing up to $ 6 million, to further reduce the cost of its launches.
Today's Iridium 5 mission is not the only one on SpaceX this week. Another used Falcon 9 rocket is expected to launch a Dragon cargo ship on Monday (April 2), also previously in space, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Dragon spaceship will deliver fresh food, equipment and other supplies to the International Space Station as soon as it arrives on Wednesday (4 April).